Dallas CowboysNFL News

Predicting the Top 15 Edge Rushers in five years

Predicting who will be the top 15 edge rushers in the NFL in five years. This can include current NFL stars, as well as college stars.
Predicting who will be the top 15 edge rushers in the NFL in five years. This can include current NFL stars, as well as college stars.

Predicting who will be the top 15 edge rushers in the NFL in five years. This can include current NFL stars, as well as college stars.

Edge rusher is easily one of the most valuable positions in football.  Today’s game features many star edge rushers and today we’ll be looking down the line to find who the stars will be in five years.

There are plenty of edge rushers currently playing at a high level who project to still be playing at a high level in five years.  There are also players who haven’t even played a down in the NFL who project to be stars in five years.

It’s hard to predict what the NFL will look like next year, much less in five years. However, it’s fun to project, so why not at least try?

Any ages listed are the players age for the 2027 season, so December 31, 2027.

Honorable Mentions

Currently in NFL

All of these wide receivers are very good receivers currently and are young enough right now to still be playing at a high level in five years and come in just outside of the top 15 of this list.

Those players include:

Brian Burns 29

Rashan Gary 30

Josh Allen 30

Montez Sweat 31

Bradley Chubb 31

Joey Bosa 32

Travon Walker 27

2023 Draft

Tyree Wilson 27

Tyree Wilson is my second ranked edge rusher in the 2023 class.  I am not quite as high on Wilson so he comes in as an honorable mention on this list, however with his upside he certainly could be a potential star.

From purely a tools perspective, Wilson is rare.  To put it simply you just aren’t going to find many edge rushers who are 6-foot-6, 275 pounds with his combination of power and athleticism.

Lukas Van Ness 26

Lukas Van Ness is my third ranked edge rusher in the 2023 class and pretty similar to Wilson in that he has a lot of upside but is unproven.

From a physical perspective Van Ness has all the tools to develop into an elite edge rusher.  At 6-foot-5, 269 pounds he has good size along with elite power.  He certainly has star potential, so he comes in as an honorable mention on this list.

2024 Draft or later

It’s very hard to project players to the NFL, but if you look around the NFL many of the best edge rushers are still on their rookie deal.  Because of this I included five players from the 2024 draft or later in the top 15 and there were many others who drew consideration for the list.

Those players include:

Jack Sawyer 2024 Draft Ohio State

J.T. Tuimoloau 2024 Draft Ohio State

Zion Tupuola-Fetui 2024 Draft Washington

Xavier Thomas 2024 Draft Clemson

Shemar Stewart 2025 Draft Texas A&M

David Hicks 2026 Draft Texas A&M

Adepoju Adebawore 2026 Draft Oklahoma

Top 15 Edge Rushers in Five Years

15 LT Overton 2025 Draft Texas A&M

It’s hard to project that a player whose only played one season of college football so far will eventually be a top 15 player at their position.  

However, players in the 2025 draft will be in their season in the NFL in 2027, so it’s likely that players with limited or no experience in college football will be stars in the league by then.

LT Overton was a part of the Aggies loaded 2022 recruiting class.  He was the 14th ranked player in the class on 247 composite rankings.  

Overton was part of their edge rusher rotation and became a starter for the last three games of the season.  This is quite remarkable for a true freshman in the SEC.

14 T.J. Watt 33 Steelers

T.J. Watt will be 33 years old by this time, so he likely won’t still be the same player he is right now.  Watt is a hall of fame type of player however so I think he still projects to be playing at a high level five years from now if he can avoid injuries over the next few years.

13 Keon Keeley 2026 Draft Alabama

The only player on this list to not play a down of college football is Alabama signee Keon Keeley.  He is the second ranked player in the 2023 high school class and projects to develop into a star for the Crimson Tide.

12 Maxx Crosby 30 Raiders

As a former fourth round pick the Raiders found a gem in Maxx Crosby as he has developed into one of the best edge rushers in football.  Crosby leads the NFL in pressures over the last two seasons with 182.

He’ll be 30 years old by this time, which is where a lot of edge rushers start to decline, but I think he’ll still be playing at a high level.

11 Dallas Turner 2024 Draft Alabama

Dallas Turner is a name that draft experts will know very well this time next year as he projects as a potential top ten pick in next year’s draft.

Turner was a highly coveted recruit as he was the top ranked edge rusher and ninth ranked player in 247 composite rankings of the 2021 class.  He has lived up to that hype so far in his career.

He was a big part of Alabama’s 2021 defense for a team that went to the national title game as he was third on the team in pressures with 25.  Last season he played an even bigger role and had 37 pressures.

10 Aidan Hutchinson 27 Lions

Aidan Hutchinson had a monster senior season at Michigan which led to him being the second overall pick to the Lions.  

Hutchinson had a really good rookie season as he had 53 pressures.  It looks quite promising that he’ll be a star in this league soon.

9 Myles Garrett 32 Browns

Myles Garrett has been one of the best players in all of football for a while now.  He surprisingly hasn’t won a defensive player of the year yet, but he is consistently amongst the main contenders.

Garrett will be 32 years old by this time, but being the hall of fame type of player he is, Garrett still projects to be playing at a very high level in five years.

8 Mykel Williams 2025 Draft Georgia

Very few true freshmen make much of an impact on teams around college football, much less make an impact on a national championship winning team.  Mykel Williams didn’t just make an impact but he actually led the team in pressures with 33.

As the fourth ranked player in the 2022 class Williams entered with high expectations and through one season it looks like he could shatter those expectations.  It’s hard to project a player to the NFL whose just one year removed from high school, but Williams has the look of a future star.

7 Jared Verse 27 2024 Draft Florida State

Jared Verse likely would have been a top ten pick in this year’s draft had he entered.  Jared Verse previously spent two seasons at Albany where he was dominant before transferring to Florida State for this season. 

Verse was productive this season for Florida State, in particular as a pass rusher and he still has plenty of room to grow. His ability to win in a variety of ways with quickness, power, or with his hands make him potentially a future star.

6 Kayvon Thibodeaux 27 Giants

Kayvon Thibodeaux was a superstar at Oregon before he was selected fifth overall in last year’s draft.  He was my top ranked player in the class and I’m a believer he’ll develop into a star.

Thibodeaux got off to a solid start to his career with his rookie season.  He also has plenty of room to grow.  The ceiling for him is sky-high as he has an elite blend of speed, quickness, power, and size.

5 Will Anderson Jr. 26 Alabama

Will Anderson Jr. is the consensus number one edge rusher in this class.  He is one of two blue chip caliber non quarterback prospects in this class alongside Jalen Carter.

He has been one of the best defensive players in the past decade or so in college football. He’s the first two-time winner of the Nagurski Award since 1996, which is awarded to the best defensive player in college football.

Anderson Jr. was completely unblockable over his career at Alabama. His quickness, burst, and get off the line are all elite. He can also win pass rushes with his technical ability as he uses his hands very well and he can just overpower offensive tackles at times.

He projects as a future star in the NFL and in five years he’ll be in his prime and could be one of the best edge rushers in the league.

4 Chase Young 28 Commanders

Coming out of Ohio State, Chase Young was one of the best defensive prospects of the decade and was the second overall pick to the Commanders.

Young had a great rookie season as he was the defensive rookie of the year in 2020.  Unfortunately, an ACL tear in week ten of the 2021 season has set his career back.  Young missed the rest of that season and the first 14 games of the 2022 season.

This injury was a setback, but I still have faith he will develop into a star in this league.  In five years Young will be in his prime and if he could avoid injuries moving forward he could be amongst the league’s best edge rushers.

3 Jaelan Phillips 28 Dolphins

Jaelan Phillips was drafted 18th overall in the 2021 draft and was a project coming out Miami (FL).  His blend of size, power, and speed is top notch and he has quickly developed from a technical perspective in the NFL.

In just his second season he already looks like one of the best edge rushers in the league.  His 70 pressures in the regular season were tied for seventh in football.

Given what Phillips was able to do at just 23 years old it’s crazy to imagine what he could do in his prime.

2 Nick Bosa 30 49ers

Ever since he stepped on an NFL field Nick Bosa has been one of the best players in the entire league.  This season he had a career year taking home the defensive player of the year award as he led the league in sacks with 19 and tied for the league lead with 90 pressures.

Bosa will be 30 years old in the 2027 season and likely still be giving opposing quarterbacks nightmares.

1 Micah Parsons 28 Cowboys

If you were starting a franchise and could choose any defensive player in football right now, Micah Parsons is the clear answer.  Not only is he amongst the best defensive players in the NFL right now, but he is just 23 years old and is relatively new to the position that he’s playing.

What Parsons has done in his first two seasons simply isn’t normal.  He had one of the best rookie seasons ever as he nearly won defensive player of the year.  He followed that up with yet another defensive player of the year caliber season as he finished tied for the league lead in pressures with 90.

He was drafted as an off-ball linebacker which is a role he also excels at, but he could be an all-time great edge rusher.  Few players to perhaps ever play edge rusher possess Parsons’ blend of quickness and power.

Considering how dominant Parsons has been to start his career and the fact this was just his first season playing  primarily at edge, it’s a legitimate possibility that he retires as one of the best defensive players to ever play the game.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button